October 03, 2020
The Birmingham-born bedroom Rapper and Singer is a playful romantic with a cinematic eye
One to watch: Wesley Joseph
Since emerging earlier this year with his self-produced debut single, the skittering, jazz-flecked Imaginary Friends, 23-year-old rapper-singer Wesley Joseph has written, directed and scored his own short film, Pandomony, as well as directing the video for his undulating second single, Martyrs. While he delegated the animated visuals for July’s glitchy Ghostin’ to Pixar’s former technical director Najeeb Tarazi, the video’s fusion of the hyperreal and the mundane marries purposefully with the intention of his music. “When you look back at life, the romanticised memories are... more poignant than the reality,” he told The Face. “But music allows you to relive those moments as over-exaggerated, melodramatic soundbites. And I want to provide those soundbites.”
Born in Birmingham and raised in Walsall, where he was a member of the OG Horse collective alongside Jorja Smith, Joseph moved to London in 2016 to study film. He also started making beats on his laptop, converting his bedroom into a makeshift studio. That ad hoc, DIY ethos permeates everything he does, with the lyrics to Ghostin’ written quickly on the bus home from a session with the song’s producer, electronic pioneer Joy Orbison. He’s also working closely with Jai Paul associate Lexxx, who mixed his appropriately titled new single Thrilla. A heady fusion of bass-rupturing beats, warm organ and Joseph’s playful, André 3000-esque rapid-fire flow, it ends with a question: “Why don’t you call me?”. They probably assumed you’d be too busy, to be honest.
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